Proposed Florida Bill Would Cap Damages in Lawsuits Against ER Doctors

by Carmen Dellutri on November 28, 2011

Fort Myers personal injury attorneyAs Florida personal injury attorneys, we are concerned about a proposed bill that would limit the amount a patient could win in a lawsuit if they are harmed by a doctor during an emergency room visit. In essence, the legislation would extend sovereign immunity protections, which limit the damages to $200,000 when suing the state, to doctors who would be considered “agents” of the state while working in emergency rooms.

The bill is sponsored by state Rep. Ronald “Doc” Renuart, R-Ponte Vedra Beach. He argues that the bill is needed to protect emergency room doctors, who often work in difficult situations.

“When someone comes in at 2 a.m. after a bar fight with a broken fist and a hand surgeon has to come in, that hand surgeon does not know that patient,” said Renuart, an orthopedic surgeon, of one potentially volatile emergency situation. “Someone in a bar fight is probably not sober, they are not happy, and there may not be a good outcome.”

Meanwhile, patient safety advocates are concerned that the proposed legislation will make doctors less accountable for medical errors that occur in the emergency room. As attorneys, we are concerned that the state’s sovereign immunity would be broadly expanded to shield private health-care providers.

Given that Renuart has unsuccessfully sponsored similar legislation twice before, the future of the legislation is uncertain at this point. We will certainly keep you updated as new developments become available.

The Dellutri Law Group is focused on making bad situations better and putting lives back together. If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a Florida accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation.

To learn more about your legal options, contact our experienced Florida injury attorneys for a free consultation. 

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